How do you survive the worst thing that can ever happen?
When thirteen-year-old Katie McCabe’s dad gets sick and is hospitalized, she’s sent to live with her uncle in a strange town. But within days of arriving, her dad unexpectedly dies.
Struggling with her new reality, Katie is lost. She doesn't fit in at her new home and never will.
It only gets worse when Katie starts her freshman year of high school and begins to have run-ins with the son of the man who owns the town—a powerful man with ties to her family’s past.
Then one day, she is attacked from behind. Blindfolded and slung across the back of a horse, Katie is taken up into the hills. Dumped in the middle of the wilderness in an oncoming storm, she is left to find her way home. But how will she survive?
Praise for Rain Falling on Embers (Katie McCabe, Book 1)
“[With] flawed, fascinating people young readers will relate to and care about, Gardner offers enticing reasons to follow on their paths in future series entries.” ~Booklife Review by Publishers Weekly, Editor’s Pick
“The strength of this story is in the emotional intensity and complexity of Katie’s painful journey of self-discovery. The author explores the turbulent teen years masterfully, examining numerous themes that will surely resonate with young readers, including bullying, dealing with grief and loss, first love, and finding one’s place in the world.
Additionally, Gardner does a good job of capturing the personality of a 13-year-old, particularly through the deft use of first-person POV.” ~Kirkus
“Gardner’s hero is more realistic than good, and readers will be drawn to the raw truth of her struggles.”
“[Rain Falling on Embers] will keep kids reading and talking. It does an admirable job of balancing heavy topics with a dash of humor and a big dose of adventure.” ~IndieReader (4.5/5)
“This captivating tale of human endurance is a wonderful read for both young and old.” ~Booktrib
“A cleverly plotted novel with a strong, memorable protagonist. Highly recommended!” ~The Wishing Shelf (UK)
“Kids ages 9-12 will find in Katie a rebellious spirit that masks an underlay of grief and growth, and will relish her ability to survive new circumstances and demands for different reactions to life.” ~Midwest Book Review
“What might seem like a typical troubled teen story turns into something unique and unexpected. The book has a great climax, and readers won’t see it coming.” ~Los Angeles Book Review
“A realistic, heartfelt, and serious drama the likes of which I’ve never seen in middle-grade fiction before.”
~K.C. Finn, USA Today Bestselling author
“This realistic, heartfelt drama is something many readers will relate to.”~L.A. Splash Magazine
“An intriguing start of a series about a young teen and her journey as she navigates personal loss, a new family, and even newer enemies.” ~Feathered Quill
“A marvelous novel. The most important message the book conveys is that every kid deserves to be
surrounded by the love and support of their family.” ~LitPick
“Katie’s beautiful yet difficult personality is portrayed with authenticity and integrity. This powerful novel shows that a child can endure loneliness, change, and loss.” ~Emma’s Insights
“The story took several unpredictable turns that brought out Katie’s tenacity. Those who like defiant, strong female characters will enjoy watching Katie’s antics.” ~Readers’ Favorite
Praise for Author’s Previous Works
7th Grade Revolution:
“Gr 5–8—A fun ride that combines treasure hunting, quick thinking, Revolutionary-era U.S. history, and teamwork. This novel reads like a National Treasure and Spy Kids movie combined. It has twists and turns. One of the novel's huge strengths is the kids banding together; in addition, each character has the opportunity to show individual skills and to grow as a person.”
~School Library Journal
The Journal of Angela Ashby:
“Hilarious, startling, and sometimes unexpected ... filled with achingly relatable tween moments and gentle lessons about the power of friendship, understanding other people’s stories, and living with the consequences of one’s actions.” ~Publishers Weekly